A Look Back at 2020

This year was not what I was expecting. I’m sure that’s true for most. people. Between the pandemic, the political strife in America, and all the other wild stuff that’s happened in the last twelve months, 2020 was a crazy–and often unpleasant–time to be alive. But for me, it wasn’t all bad. I want to take a minute to reflect on how my life changed this year.

When 2020 started, I was the Director of my local library. I’d only had the position for about six months. That job was a lot of things to me at that time, good and bad. Even applying for the position had been a really big step for me–getting it was huge. But once I was there, I found I didn’t really like it. It was far from the worst job I ever had, but at the end of the day… there was no passion there for me.

Maybe it would have been different in a different town. The things that excited me about the job were too often hampered by the disinterest of my small midwestern locale. For example, I bought a copy of the D&D 5E Core Rulebooks for the library; a group of kids excitedly checked them all out immediately and, after struggling a bit to parse all the rules, asked me if I could teach them to play. It was a highlight of the job! Until they came in one day and sadly informed me that their parents had told them they weren’t allowed to play anymore because the game was un-Christian. Gotta love that Satanic Panic.

At any rate, early into the year, I had a financial windfall; after talking it through with my wife, I decided to… well, to change my whole life, essentially.

I’ve always wanted to write, but I’ve never made time for it. Suddenly, I had an opportunity to quit my job and focus on writing, so that’s what I decided to do. I left the library, started my blog, and here we are!

Now, obviously, I tried to be at least a bit careful. I knew I wasn’t going to instantly start making money; I’ve taken up part-time remote work to keep some income flowing. I took some classes to shake the dust off my editing skills. I reached out to the newspaper I used to work at and started a column there. And the career shift had a practical element, too–my wife wanted to change careers as well, and we both wanted out of the town we were living in. Leaving when I did just made sense.

Once we both had new jobs, it was time for my wife and I to move. We didn’t go far, but we moved from a small town to a big one, and it’s frankly wild to me how much choice we have now–places to eat, game and comic shops… for the first time in my life, I have a place within driving distance that sells board and tabletop games! It’s amazing!

I haven’t always been confident in my choices this year, but looking back now, I don’t think I’d change anything. As it happened, the week after I put in my notice at the library, the pandemic hit full-force; if I hadn’t left when I did, I’d have had to keep running the library during COVID, and let’s just say I don’t have the utmost confidence that the people in that town are handling the disease properly. I have a bit of medical anxiety, so I think I would have been a wreck working any way but from home this year. Plus, I like our new home much better than our old one, despite some initial difficulty adjusting.

Most of all, though, I’m glad I got this blog started. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do and never had the confidence for. Not only that, but it got me to start a Twitter account, and as it turns out, TTRPG Twitter is amazing! I’ve loved getting to know the community there, and I’ve even made some genuine friends along the way. That’s really important to me.

So, while 2020 was scary in more ways than I could count, I feel like I was able to make a lot of positive changes to my life. I’m proud of the choices I’ve made. I feel like I came a long way this year, and I hope you’ll join me as I move on to even bigger things in 2021!

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